‘Hey, Henry, d’ you wanna see my fridge?’ Patrick beamed up at Henry Bowers; grabbing his arm flirtatiously, and almost skipping in an attempt to cover up his trip over his laces. He was mostly doing this to keep up with Henry’s breakneck stride… but also because he wanted to get on his nerves. This was very easy in Patrick’s opinion! Every syllable, every complacent smile, every slight brush of Patrick’s skin against his own irked Henry to no end. Just before, Henry had almost slapped the little pansy out of embarrassment when he finally realised he’d been holding his hand the whole way to the dump!
‘I already know about the Amana, Pat.’ Henry lowered his voice to a deadly, icy tone he’d typically reserve for a member of the Losers Club. Glaring down at Patrick, he saw an element of surprise on the boy’s face. ‘What, have you forgotten already, lamebrain? I’ve known for ages now!’
Patrick remained sullenly silent. Henry mentally urged him to pout, just to give him a reason to split the wacko’s lip.
‘If you tell anyone about us... Or touch me in public again; even just a little bit…I will make sure everyone else knows. And you know what...? They'll send you to the fucking A-Loony bin, Hockstetter!’ Henry sneered, giving his unfortunate companion a playful push.
Stumbling from the push, Patrick toppled over sideways and fell on his behind, making Henry howl with callous laughter. Grinning boyishly, Patrick picked himself up and launched at Henry, pushing him to the ground and pinning him down under his body. Henry burst out giggling, attempting to tear his friend’s tightly clamped fingers from off of his neck. He turned flushed in the face from laughing so hard. Giving up on removing Patrick’s hands, he began light-heartedly giving him small punches to the gut. Patrick could tell Henry was going to ruin all his fun by escaping, so he sat firmly down on his stomach and pinned his hands down with his knees.
‘Patrick, that’s not fair!’ Henry whined, the smile fading from his face.
‘Oh, shut up!’ Patrick tittered, ‘You did this to Eddie, so why can’t I do this to you?’ The boy held the ‘o’ at for least three seconds longer than he was supposed to. ‘Besides! This is fun!’
‘Not for me, fuck-face!’ Henry yelled boisterously, trying to keep his face serious, but the smile was far too strong to hold back.
‘See, you do like this!’ Patrick exclaimed, raising his hands temporarily from Henry’s wide shoulders. Bowers took advantage of the moment, and wrestled Patrick underneath him despite all the squealing and complaining.
‘Look, I don’t like this… And let me show you what happens when you mess with someone like me, Hockstetter.’ There was a pause… Henry was thinking, yet he got distracted by his surroundings. The sunflowers were swaying in the breeze, sunlight bouncing off their citron petals. Everything on this summer’s day seemed alive and animated, the sea breeze being the puppet master of nature.
Snapping out of his daze, Henry recoiled as Patrick’s lips were against his in an instant. In surprise his mouth opened. Pulling roughly away, he gripped Patrick’s face forcefully in his hand.
‘Are you crazy?! Why did you just…!’ He spluttered, rubbing at his mouth and resisting Patrick’s almost desperate attempts to free his face.
‘You’re the craziest out of both of us!’ Patrick retorted, moistening his lips then gasping and struggling in Henry’s iron grasp, ‘Besides, if you tell anyone about my fridge and test animals, I’ll tell everyone at Derry Elementary that you liked it when I touched you!’ He let out a gaily laugh that gave Henry the chills. ‘You don’t scare me, Bowers!’ Despite all the tough talk coming from Patrick, Henry could tell by the agitated glint in his eyes that he was mildly frightened at least. It didn’t take a genius to realise this… Dirty blond hair covered Patrick’s pallid face as he attempted to throw Henry off of himself.
‘Pfft~ Says the guy that kills animals for kicks. Don’t make me laugh! And I didn’t like it!’ the greaser raked an anxious hand through his dark hair. Patrick stared dumbly at his older friend for longer than what made Henry comfortable. It was almost as if he was begging for a broken jaw or a black eye!
‘Shut up!’ Henry eventually cut Patrick off, ‘I hear something…’
Alarming wild fury grew in Henry’s eyes. ‘Come out you little shits!’ he screamed furiously into the silence, ‘I know you’re hiding from me!’ Only the birds showed themselves, flying out of the pines and into the distance.
‘Henry, what’s wrong now?’ Sighed Patrick, feigning melancholy. Henry didn’t even notice Patrick’s comment. He was breathing fast. Too fast.
‘I’m worried about you, Henry.’ Patrick lied. Linking his arm with the greaser’s, he leaned his head against Henry’s shoulder, closing his eyes and exhaling softly. ‘Let me show you something…’ Taking Henry by the hand, he led him over to the Amana, giggling silently.
In Henry’s opinion, the refrigerator had seen much better days. It loomed over the boys, white and eerily stark in contrast to the rest of the dump. Rust licked the surface, curling up and around the paint. The sickly sweet and somehow acidic smell of decomposing flesh was almost too much to bear. Flies buzzed fanatically in the silence… ‘I bet they’re having a right fun time.’ Henry remarked snidely.
‘Yeah. We love it here~’ Patrick commented emotionlessly. Henry glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. Was that a hint of boredom in his voice?
Sliding his hand onto the fridges handle, Patrick grinned. ‘Are you ready for this?’
Neither Henry nor Patrick could have ever been prepared for what was about to take place… A high pitched wheezy, maniacal laugh rang in the silence like a gunshot – then there was nothing to hear but hysterical screaming.
Henry’s heart stopped. Curled up in that goddamn Hockstetter’s fridge was no other than Eddie Corcoran! Eddie had been an old pal of Henry's, and understandably, when Eddie disappeared, Henry hadn’t exactly expected to find him here of all places. But that wasn’t all! There was a girl… Cissy, Greta? No… Trying to place a name to the girl took a lot of thinking. She was crammed up against the roof of the Amana, her hair brushing against Eddie’s frigid, dead face. A cold sweat covered Henry’s furrowed brow. Turning to his living friend, he could see Patrick wasn’t exactly thrilled to see Corcoran here either.
Orange pompoms bounced out – a cheerful comparison to the morbid contents of the Amana. The children’s clothes were bloodied red and riddled with tears and grave wax. Eddie’s face was practically non-existent in Henry’s eyes. Back in spring, Henry would see Eddie’s face almost every day; dark, dopey eyes, long-ish lashes, olive skin and soft facial features. Now he could only lay eyes on pink ropes of muscle and a yellow fatty substance. Sure enough, there were those old brown eyes gazing emptily into nothingness. This was the only thing the boys could use to distinguish him from.
Patrick found himself lost for words. He couldn’t imagine why there’d be his old class mates in his fridge. He didn’t do anything to them! Okay, sometimes he would pull on the chick’s hair during algebra… But he wouldn’t put them in the old Amana! A grin forced its way onto his face; to Patrick, it looked as if the corpses were cuddling up together!
‘What the fuck are you laughing for?! Eddie’s dead in your fridge, Hockstetter!’ Henry barked, ‘And who is this girl? What did you do to them?!’
‘N-no… Henry. I don’t know!’ Patrick felt choked up inside. He could tell Henry thought that he’d killed the kids. ‘Is that… Veronica Grogan?’
Staring closely at the doll-like, vacant bodies, Henry flinched as Grogan’s wrist gave a little twitch. Though his natural impulse was adios, Henry stayed put. It was eerily fascinating what death could do to somebody. Both boys watched in scared silence, one terrified of an un-dead apocalypse, the other contemplating poking the kids with a stick.
‘So, what d’ya reckon we do?’ Henry finally mustered up the courage to say. He wiped his sweaty palms on his blue jeans.
Patrick stared glassily at his companion, ‘…We should leave. People might think we did this.’
Biting his lip, Henry grunted an agreement. He turned to leave-
‘Wait! Maybe we should bury them. Don’t want the cops sniffing around!’ Patrick hollered to his retreating back, his face enigmatic. Henry had never seen Patrick look so energised before.
‘Heh, idiot, that would look really suspicious. No way. We’re leaving.’
‘Fine. Have it your way.’ Patrick grumbled in reply. As he trudged over to Henry, he saw something in his eyes that he didn’t exactly like.
A horrified moan escaped Henry’s lips. Whipping around to face the problem, Patrick’s eyes widened. This isn’t even possible. Only in double features.
Standing hand in hand in front of the fridge, like boyfriend and girlfriend were Eddie Corcoran and Veronica Grogan. Identical simpers plastered their pallid faces.
Veronica’s yellow and white checked swing dress swayed in the sudden breeze. Flies swarmed at her skin and covered her like barnacles on a rock.
Henry fought off the urge to throw up, but he could ashamedly feel something trickle down his legs. He desperately wanted to run off home, where safety and comfort would be limited, yet much better than his current situation. As much as he wanted to leave Patrick to fight these silent monsters on his own, Henry was frozen to the spot. His legs were as heavy as lead… and he felt as if he moved just a little bit; he would surely collapse and get torn to shreds by these zombies.
Eddie clutched pompoms in his upturned palm. He relaxed and let the wind carry them off towards the south.
‘Hello, Henry Bowers. Remember me?’ Corcoran smiled pleasantly, his eyes complacent but the rest of his face a bloodied mess. ‘We were buddies… Before my accident.’
‘Patrick.’ Veronica Grogan acknowledged his presence, ‘It’s been a long time.’
Cowering and whimpering, Henry pivoted around as if to flee. Patrick simply watched in a calm silence, in awe of the whole crazy, almost ridiculous situation. Without even looking, he grabbed Henry’s wrist forcefully as he was just about to get away.
‘Stay.’ He hissed under his breath, ‘They might have something important to say!’
Creeping closer, and closer, and closer, Patrick noticed the way Eddie and Veronica’s footsteps mirrored each other. It was almost as if they were twins sharing a mind. Tears pooled in Henry’s eyes for the second time today. Feeling Henry’’s resistance, Patrick clenched his hand as hard as he could.
‘Don’t let him get away.’ Eddie chuckled, ‘I think he’ll like what we have to say, if you’d just give us a chance.’ Extending a scaly, rotten hand towards Bowers, as if by magic a brown card box appeared. It was only big enough to carry matches, yet Patrick could tell there was something not right about the box. A foul stench emitted from the paper.
Don’t take it! Don’t take it, Henry! Patrick mentally urged, digging his nails into Henry’s flesh.
Henry’s hand hesitated mid-air. Trembled. He grasped the package, very careful not to touch the un-dead boy’s hand. The greaser looked down at the object as if it was an artifact from an alien planet. Again he hesitated.
‘Don’t open it now. You can only open it when you have Pennywise’s permission. This may take a while. It depends…’ Veronica warbled emotionlessly, sounding alarmingly like an electronic recorded message.
Eddie giggled. It sounded distant and un-genuine. ‘It depends.’ He echoed, ‘Depends how good a boy you’ve been!’
‘Yes. We have one for you too, Patrick Hockstetter.’ Veronica said flatly, shoving the parcel into Patrick’s reluctant hands.
Neither of the boys wanted to speak. They were far too scared, paralysed with fear.
‘What’s the matter, Henry? Cat got your tongue? Usually at school you just won’t shut up!’
A whimper escalated in Henry’s throat. Why do they want to speak to us? What the fuck are in these parcels? They smell like something died in there!
‘Anyway, we have to pass on a message.’ Eddie interrupted his thoughts abruptly, placing a spare hand on Henry’s shoulder. Jerking away from the touch, Henry let out a small scream.
Both corpses laughed like electronic dolls, their voices sounding foreign. Turning to Henry, ‘You know Pennywise – don’t you?’
‘W-who?’ His voice trembled and cracked, bringing more malicious laughing.
‘Don’t tell me you don’t know Pennywise! He’s that clown you see on the moon every night!’ Eddie exclaimed, slapping a hand to his forehead. Small droplets of blood sprayed Patrick’s white T-shirt. Both boys gasped.
‘How the fuck did you-‘ Henry seemingly claimed back some of his usual confidence.
‘This isn’t necessary.’ Veronica rasped, her eyes blazing, ‘Pennywise knows everything about you, and that’s all I can say… Right now we have an important thing to tell you, if you’d just be quiet and stop your snivelling.’
Henry shut up immediately. Typically he wouldn’t let anybody order him around, especially a girl! But today was much different. He wished he could have some of Patrick’s calm nature. It sure would come in handy.
‘Pennywise has orders, you see. We are simply a messenger, so please don’t be afraid.’ Eddie grinned grimly. For a second, Patrick thought he saw a glint of sympathy in his eyes. Must have been my imagination, he thought sadly.
‘For weeks this has been bothering him. Getting on his nerves. It’s the cause of everyone’s problems, I’m sure you’d agree. The Losers Club. Stupid kids, every one of them! At first ol’ Pennywise thought the problem would blow over. The Losers would die easily – either by his hands or yours, and everything would smooth over.
‘However, little by little Pennywise has noticed things. The Losers are far stronger than anyone could have imagined! Every day the Losers are getting closer to killing our leader, Henry. Not only would it kill him, but all of us children too, Henry!’
Part of Henry wanted to yell that Corcoran was already dead, and he had no idea who this ‘Pennywise’ was; but mention of the Losers had caught his interest. This was rare for him.
‘Last evening, Pennywise thought of a plan. This is where you come in, boys.’ Veronica smiled for the first time, ‘Forgive me if I’m wrong, but you detest the Losers, right?’
‘We all want you to kill the Losers. No, we need you to kill them!’ Eddie laughed carelessly, clapping his hands together. Patrick watched numbly as flakes of skin floated to the ground.
‘Bring them to us when you’re done!’ With that, they were gone. Clasping their hands together, Eddie and Veronica faded into the distance and into the Barrens. The pines hid their ghastly bodies from view.
Wordlessly, Henry walked Patrick home without even saying goodbye. He was too lost in thought to bother with conversation.
At Patrick’s window, Josephine Hockstetter numbly wondered if the boys had fallen out. Both seemed really blue.
‘Hey, Patty. Why do you look so down?’
Her son ignored her, shuffling past her in the corridor and retreating to his bedroom. Must be a teenage thing, She brushed it off.
It sure has gotten dark fast! Henry thought to himself. It seemed like just a few hours ago that he’s met Patrick by the kissing bridge after the cinema.
Just like every evening, the ghost moon sure as hell appeared. Sitting illuminated in the moonlight on a park bench, the word ‘kill’ echoed around Henry’s distressed head. Deadened determination slotted into place.
Henry would make it his mission to murder the Losers Club. Every. Single. Last. One of them.